RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The candidates for former representative Filemon Vela Jr’s vacant seat in U.S. House Texas District 34 are gearing up for the special election on June 14.

The candidates on the ballot are focusing on several issues, but all agree that education and safety are a top priority.

“Bring our education back to where we’re in charge of it,” said congressional candidate, Juana “Janie” Cantu Cabrera.

Cantu Cabrera is a registered nurse and a republican candidate that said education is a top priority and believes parents should be in charge of decisions in schools and not the government.

“I think the parents really need to be involved in the school system. I think that we are putting way too much pressure on the teachers to teach things that parents should be teaching,” she said.

Cantu Cabrera’s republican opponent is Mayra Flores, a respiratory care practitioner who also expressed concerns in schools.

“School security…I’m a mom of four young children and after what happened in Uvalde, it’s also a priority of mine,” said Flores.

She explained the importance of funding for school safety.

“Just like I saw congress rush $40 billion dollars to Ukraine, I want to see that initiative. I want to see billions of dollars being sent to our schools because coming this fall we parents, not only are we going to be worried about are we able to afford school supplies, and clothing, but now we are going to be afraid of their safety,” she said.

Flores said having the best and highest security in schools is needed.

Dan Sanchez, an attorney and Democratic candidate in the race, is also concerned about safety in schools.

“Top priorities right now, definitely is gun safety, right? We live in Texas, everybody likes their guns, but we also love our children,” said Sanchez.

He explained that after the tragedy in Uvalde, gun safety should be an issue addressed by everyone.

“I think that with some gun legislation, that can be done, or at least some of these incidents can be avoided by not letting these guns fall into the wrong hands. That does not mean not letting have guns at all but let’s be very careful. The way we are careful about who we allow to drive cars, who we allow to drink beer, who we allow to buy cigarettes, at what age, things of that sort, right? Let’s just be very careful about that,” he said.

Sanchez’s democratic opponent, Rene Coronado expressed similar concerns.

Coronado is an army veteran with a law enforcement background who said he understands the importance of gun safety.

“I know weapons very well. I believe there is a lot we can do to reduce gun violence,” said Coronado.

He said he would work with both sides to come to an agreement and ensure safety in schools and in the community.

“Raising the age of purchasing a gun to the age of 21. Background checks, extended background checks. We can do red flag laws. I think there are certain things we can do with red flag laws to where somebody is identified as a security threat or a security concern, law enforcement can get involved early on as opposed to waiting to the end,” he said.

Coronado explained that although he would push for additional gun restrictions and safety, he would ensure that gun rights are maintained.

The candidate elected in this special election will serve a six-month term.